This is one of my favorite cake recipes. It is a moist, dense, intensely-spiced cake. It is so Christmas-y that biting into one is like having Bing Crosby croon "I'll be home for Christmas" right in your ear. In fact, when, in the middle of July I'm just wishing Christmas were here already, I bake up a batch of these and my holiday yearnings are temporarily satisfied.
For years I've baked this version of the recipe. It was very sticky, and often fell in the oven. Then I realized that the sugar ratio was really, really high. Then I found the version that you'll find below, which seems to be Claudia Fleming's original recipe. It has half the sugar, and more baking soda. She also included grated fresh ginger. I didn't, but think it would be great to add next time if I were serving this as a proper dessert. This time around I served it to friends as a mid-afternoon snack with mulled wine. (Now that's my idea of a great mommy/baby playdate!)
Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread
adapted from Claudia Fleming
Here in the UK they don't sell molasses so I used 3/4 cup dark treacle and 1/4 cup golden syrup. Treacle is like a really dark and thick molasses and golden syrup is similar to high-fructose corn syrup (not regular corn syrup which isn't as sweet.)
Also, as you can see in the pictures, I used silicone rose and geranium molds which I simply buttered and floured, and they came out quite nicely. If you're using a regular (non-silicone) pan I highly recommend using parchment paper as described below or buttering and flouring really, really well because these do have a tendency to stick to the pan.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment, and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. This will make the mixture foam up considerably so make sure you use a large pan. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.
Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.